Tough Defense Pays Off as Sailfish Men's Basketball Breaks Losing Streak

Written By: Michael Brown, Palm Beach Atlantic University SID

Chris Joseph (Pictured) Had a Solid Night for PBA Against Barry University on the Road With 12 Points, Five Steals, and Three Assists in 34 Minutes. Photo Courtesy of: Lori Richards. Chris Joseph (Pictured) Had a Solid Night for PBA Against Barry University on the Road With 12 Points, Five Steals, and Three Assists in 34 Minutes. Photo Courtesy of: Lori Richards.

Box Score

MIAMI SHORES, Fla.- Playing in a tough environment at Barry University, the Palm Beach Atlantic University men’s basketball team got back to their winning way on Wednesday night as they survived a defensive battle against the Buccaneers in Miami to take a 58-53 victory back to West Palm Beach. Their ninth victory of the season, the Sailfish had previously lost their past eight ballgames.

Now having swept the season series against Barry, the Sailfish improve to 8-8 on the season against Sunshine State Conference teams. The Sailfish and Bucs tangled in what was an instant classic back in November as the Fish survived a similar type defensive showing as the inched past BU by a score of 73-69 in double overtime.

Tonight things would stay close for a majority of the game however the Fish would trail only once in the early minutes and hold between a 5 and 10 point lead through much of the game.

The Bucs inside big-man Willie Whitfield put the Red and Black on top at 6-4 in the opening minutes before a jumper from PBA junior Jonathan Lawrence tied the game back up at 6-6 nearly four minutes into the game.

After one more tie score on the next play, the Fish would go up for good as senior David Powell drained back-to-back three-pointers for the Fish as they pushed ahead 14-8 with 13:15 to play in the opening half.

The lead would remain small until late in the half as the Sailfish started to extend their advantage possession by possession, even going up by as many as 10 points when Joe Kelly connected for a jumper to move ahead 32-22 with 1:50 remaining in the half.

The Fish would enter the lockeroom leading 34-27 after BU guard Jamaal Madyun drilled a three-pointer with only five seconds remaining before the buzzer sounded.

While the Fish would be outscored by two points in the second-half (26-24), their sound defense limited the Bucs to only a 35% shooting mark in the second-half (9-26) as the Sailfish lead hovered around single digits for most of the period.

It didn’t help matters for head coach Terry Primm that he saw his ballclub shoot an uncharacteristic 41% from the free-throw line in the second-half (7-17) to doom any chances the Fish would have at pushing their lead to double-digits and stay there.

Utilizing a smaller and sometimes quicker lineup than Barry, the Sailfish were paced by 13 points from Powell and 12 points from backcourt-mate Chris Joseph. Powell finished 3-of-6 from beyond the arc and 4-of-7 overall from the field in 35 minutes. Joseph added in a 4-of-8 shooting performance while five steals and three assists.

Hunter Ross added in eight points while hitting both of his three-point attempts off the Sailfish bench while Lawrence also contributed eight points.

The Bucs were led by athletic guard Karega Tucker who led all scorers with 19 points however Tucker was just 6-of-18 from the field including a 2-of-10 mark from beyond the arc. Tucker’s tough day from the outside contributed to a 4-of-23 mark as a team from behind the three-point land.

Whitfield peformed well inside against the Fish with a double-double of 13 points and 14 rebounds including nine on the offensive glass.

PBA will host Flagler College on Friday, February 13th at 7 p.m. in the Rubin Arena for their final home of the 2009 schedule. It will be Senior Night as the team honors its three seniors.

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